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Geoff Ables's Articles

Collapse and Expand: Working with Tabs in CRM 2011

CRM 2011 forms include “tabs” to help organize information.  If you are a user of previous versions of CRM you know that tabs used to be presented across the top of a form.  In CRM 2011 tabs are now presented vertically.  Read on for the advantages of this change.

Quick Tip: Displaying the Data Grid for Part of a Chart in a CRM 2011 Dashboard

imageInteracting with dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011 is a powerful way to monitor and manage your business. Frequently, however, it would be helpful to “drill into” only a portion of a chart (such as a bar in a bar chart or a slice of a pie chart) to see the grid behind it. Because of the way that dashboards function, however, it is not readily apparent how to do this. This post demonstrates how you can accomplish this in just two mouse clicks.

    1. While hovering over the chart that you want to drill into, click the “view the records” icon on the upper right-hand side of the chart. You will be taken to a grid showing all of the data for the cart (not just the data for the desired section). The chart will also appear next to the grid.
       
    2. Click the section that you want to see the data for.

That’s it! In two clicks, you’ve been able to drill from a dashboard, to a chart, to the data behind a specific slice of a chart. See the nearby video for a live example.

 

Connections: Dynamics CRM 2011 Gets Social

 

Standard-relationships-in-CRM-solutions

Customer relationship management systems typically handle relationships between records in a linear format. For example, in the image to the left, an account (aka a company) may have a relationship with one or more contacts (aka the employees of that company).  Similarly, the account may also have one more more opportunities associated with it.

In the strictest sense, this is how the business views the relationships.  Everything is nice and tidy and linear.

CRM 2011 for Outlook: Next Generation Outlook Email Integration

 

Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011Everybody knows that Microsoft Dynamics CRM has always been the leader of the pack when it comes to integration with Microsoft Outlook.  So nobody was expecting to see significant changes in this area with the introduction of CRM 2011.  But Microsoft delivered a very nice surprise to their customers when they not only improved the Outlook integration – but in fact gave it a complete overhaul.  In fact, the upgrades to CRM for Outlook are so extensive, that we expect to see fewer-and-fewer users accessing the Web version of Dynamics CRM at all.  Many of our clients are providing user training only in CRM 2011 for Outlook.

There are so many different improvements in CRM for Outlook that it’s impossible to cover all of them in a single article, so I am going to focus on my favorite new CRM/Outlook functionality – good old email! 

Visualizations: How to Create Charts and Dashboards in Dynamics CRM 2011

CRM 2011 Chart - Cases by Satisfaction RatingOne of Microsoft’s goals with Dynamics CRM 2011 was to deliver intelligent experiences across the enterprise. Some of the most important items that Microsoft included in the CRM 2011 toolbox for that are charts and dashboards – collectively referred to as visualizations. Visualizations not only provide a way to rapidly boil a lot of data down into a chart or graph; they also allow managers and users drill down on data and move from analysis to action very quickly. Visualizations can be created at the “system” level (for distribution across your enterprise), and users can create them at the “personal” level (for their own individual use, or to share selectively with colleagues).  In this entry, I’ll take a look at how to create personal Charts and Dashboards in 5 easy steps.

  

7 Steps to Successful Client Scorecards

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Which clients should we focus more time on? Are there any clients that we should consider firing? How can we find new clients that look like our best current clients? Do we have clients that should be more profitable?

These are the questions that many B2B firms are asking themselves as they think through how they should prioritize their client list.  So read on for some of the how’s and why’s of establishing a client scoring system.

 

The Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible is Almost Here!

 

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible is only a few weeks away (March 1, 2011) from being available!  After lots of hard work and long hours, we’re going to celebrate by giving away five copies of the book for free!

To be entered to win a free copy, just sign up to follow C5 Insight on one of the various social channels that we offer (you must have a United States mailing address to be qualified).  You can click here to follow us on Twitter.  We’re planning to select 5 winners on March 21, 2011 (or once we have 200 new followers across our social channels – whichever comes first).

Or, if you’re in a hurry, then use the link to the left to order your copy today (our kid’s college funds thank you)!

For those of you who are interested in SharePoint 2010, the book includes a chapter on the “out of the box” SharePoint integration and a special appendix on customized SharePoint 2010 / CRM 2011 integration written by Curtis Hughes.

What’s next?  We’ve created a site for the book (www.dynamicscrmbible.com) and we need to get the finishing touches on it ... Gotta get going!

 

Get Social: More Options for Following Us

Our blogs, on-demand videos and events lists have expanded so much in the last year, that we’ve been asked if we can provide some options to follow selected topics only.

So if you would like to focus on information by product (Salesforce.com, Dynamics CRM or Microsoft SharePoint) or by role (Business or Technical) – you have options to do that.  You also have options to choose which channel you want to follow us on (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, RSS or e-mail).

If you’re already following C5 Insight – THANKS.  Take a few minutes today to visit the new follow us page and update the way you follow us so you will get only the information that you want.

If you’re not following us yet, now is the perfect time.  Follow us to keep up with the latest tips, techniques, best practices, on demand videos and live events.

AND … to sweeten the pot … we will be giving away 5 copies of our forthcoming book, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible” to a randomly selected list of those who are following us.  More details are in the full posting.

All it takes is two or three quick clicks.  

Internet Explorer 9, CRM 4.0 and CRM 2011

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The beta of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is now available and I was trying it out both of the most recent versions of Dynamics CRM – it is definitely worth taking the time to download the free upgrade.

WARNING: Internet Explorer is in Beta right now - I do not recommend upgrading your browser until it is in full release (see notes at the bottom of this entry for more information).

Getting More Real Estate on Your CRM 2011 Screen

The ribbon menu in Dynamics CRM 2011 is a very popular new addition. This puts many function of the application within reach of all users and presents an interface similar to other Microsoft Office products – resulting in a shorter learning curve.  But it does have one drawback … the ribbon takes up quite a bit of real estate on the screen and users often would like to have that space in order to see more of their form or list. Read on for some options for expanding the available real estate on the Dynamics CRM web forms.

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Dynamics CRM 2011’s Awe Inspiring Excel Export and Import Capabilities

Have you ever been working in CRM and wish you had a way to quickly create (or update) a bunch of records just like you can in Excel?  In many cases individuals just starting to use CRM are more comfortable with Excel spreadsheets and find that, while CRM offers many benefits over Excel, entering and updating records using Dynamics CRM can feel like it is slowing them down.

With Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft has rolled out significant enhancements for exporting and importing Excel data that makes data entry in Microsoft Excel a simple process for any user.  Read on to understand how this functionality is designed and how to put it to use!

Bulk Edit Campaign Responses

Bulk editing records in Dynamics CRM can be a huge time saver.  But how to bulk edit Activity records and, in particular, those pesky Campaign Responses?  Responses typically need to be managed in bulk, but accessing this functionality is not a simple for these records as it is for other types.  Fortunately, it's just a couple of extra steps to bulk edit your Campaign Responses.  Read the full article for the scoop...

Change Tag Spelling and Capitalization in SharePoint 2010

The ability to tag EVERYTHING in SharePoint 2010 is one of my favorite features. 

But, if you’re like me, you sometimes create a personal or enterprise tag hastily. And you know what they say about haste … you end up with typographical errors or inconsistent capitalization.

And, if you’re like me, it REALLY bugs you to see all of those inconsistencies in your terms.

CRM 2011: Breakthrough Functionality

It's the week after Microsoft unveiled Dynamics CRM 2011 at the Worldwide partner conference and my head is still spinning from all of the great new features and strategic improvements that will be coming soon. Read on to learn about a small number of the most powerful additions you can expect to see in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Get Your Head in the Clouds – with Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been the subject of much conversation (and hype) for about a year now. Our 4 City Tour (www.successaccelerators.com/4city) focused on this, as did some recent research with one of our partners (white paper forthcoming) and our partner Salesforce.com has long led the charge in the cloud computing conversation.

This past week, cloud computing took center stage at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington DC. From all indications, cloud computing will be the number one area of focus for Microsoft for the next 12 months (or more). So just what is cloud computing, why is it important to you and what is Microsoft doing that will impact it?  Let’s tackle each of those questions in sequence.

CRM 5 Becomes “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011” at Worldwide Partner Conference

Microsoft is making a number of groundbreaking announcements at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this week - in particular relating to the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.  Read the rest of the post to learn more.

11 Habits of Effective Activity Management

Dynamics CRM Activity icon - not reallyThe failure to understand and execute an effective activity management process is a leading cause of poor CRM adoption.  There are a variety of issues that can make activity management confusing and frustrating for users in ANY CRM system.  In this posting, I've detailed 11 suggestions for improving your activity management process. 

This is only a starting point.  Proper use of Queues and Workflows - in particular - are areas that can also improve your activity management efficiency and results.

Stay Tuned for News from WPC - CRM 5 and SharePoint 2010

We will be making a showing at Microsoft WPC in Washington DC from July 11-15 this year.  WPC - or Worldwide Partner Conference - is Microsoft's annual event targeted at their partner community.  Microsoft expects over 10,000 in attendance (in fact, I think I recently read that they had already surpassed that number).

Web-to-Lead with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

CRM Online Web-to-leadLast week I setup web-to-lead for one of our clients using CRM Online for the first time.  Compared to working with CRM On Premise, I must say that it was a bit of rude awakening.

SharePoint 2010: What is in each version?

Like SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010 comes in three different versions.  However, the version names have changed and what is available in each version is different.  So if you’re moving from the SharePoint 2007 world to the SharePoint 2010 world, it can be a bit confusing (it has been for me).  The versions are:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010: This is the version freely included with Windows Server and is comparable to Microsoft Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) 2007.  It includes many of the basics and may be all that a small business needs to get started with SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 – Standard: This is the next level of SharePoint and includes important features such as Enterprise Search and My Sites (including the social media components) that most businesses will find important.  This is comparable to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 – Enterprise: This adds more functionality to Standard including better business data connectivity (for connecting to CRM and accounting applications, for example), Excel Services (for showing Excel info in SharePoint – very nice functionality for allowing users to create their own enterprise dashboards), and a number of other advanced workflow management, Office integration and analytics tools.

Welcome to the Re-Launch of the Ask Dynamics CRM Blog

After merging and holding 5 events in 4 cities in the last 6 months, we have migrated and re-launched our blog!  Welcome to the new AskDynamicsCRM blog.  If you want more information about what content was migrated and what to expect in the coming months, read on.

Options for Data Migration and Integration

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 there are so many options for migrating, integrating and bulk updating data that it can be quite confusing. This entry presents many of the options and the appropriate time to use each.

Microsoft_CRM_Data_Migration_Integration

 [NOTE: This is a summary - read the full BLOG for more info]

Use Dynamics CRM Workflows to Improve Mobile Phone Call Activity

Dynamics_CRM_Mobile_Phone_Call_Activity Are you (or your users) ever away from the office and you need to quickly make phone calls, that you’ve planned in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, from your mobile phone? Do you find it painful to do this from your mobile device?

Wouldn’t you like to be able to just record a Phone Call Activity in CRM and have it put all the information you need (contact name, company name, phone numbers, etc) right into the task description so you can make the call with a single click?

This can be accomplished in CRM using Workflows. Read on to learn how.

Security Role Settings for Reassigning Activities and Cases

When your users contact you saying they cannot share a case or an activity with another user - the first thing to do is to check the basic security role settings for Cases, Appointments and related entities (such as Leads, Opportunities, Contacts - depending on what the Appointments are related to).  If those settings all appear to be correct (I won't try to document the correct settings here), then you should also check your Queue settings.

 

Yes, your queue settings.  On the Core Records tab.

Make sure that you have the security role set to read for the Organization.  See the image below.

Queue_Security_Role_Microsoft_CRM

You are probably asking, "Why the Queue entity?"  Activities and cases are both listed in your queues.  So if you haven't granted permission to read the Queue, then you can't assign your activities or cases to another person's queue. 

You may now be asking, "We don't use Queue's.  How can I get rid of the Queue item from the nav bar using Security Roles while still allowing users to reassign activities and cases?"  That's an easy one: You Can't.  But you can update the site map.

Personalized Menus in Microsoft CRM

Dynamics_CRM_Custom_MenuWe are frequently asked if each user - or even different business units - can have completely personalized menus in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.  With a little bit of work on the SiteMap XML file, you can give your users a lot of options for a menuing system that is tailored to their specific needs.

Blog Topics

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CPR for CRM Study

The complementary paper includes over 12 years of research, recent survey results, and CRM turnaround success stories.

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SharePoint Readiness Assessment

This 60-second assessment is designed to evaluate your organization's collaboration readiness.

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CRM Self Assessment

Learn how you rank compared to organizations typically in years 1 to 5 of implementation - and which areas to focus on to improve.

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SharePoint Feedback Solution

This is a sandbox solution which can be activated per site collection to allow you to easily collect feedback from users into a custom Feedback list.

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SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

Whether you are upgrading to SharePoint Online, 2010, 2013 or the latest 2016, this checklist contains everything you need to know for a successful transition.